Ephesians 5:22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
1 Peter 5:5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
I would like to talk a little bit about the topic of Biblical submission. Submission is not something that is always an easy thing to do, especially in the flesh. The Bible talks about submission on many levels. There is obviously the submission of the saint of God to their pastor. There is the submission of the wife to the husband. There is also submission of the younger to the elder. The Bible even talks of submission one to another. All submission requires humility. If you think you are better than someone else or you are proud, you will not be able to submit very effectively.
Submission to the Office – Not the Person
One reason that people give for not submitting is that they don’t trust the person they are submitting to. They have seen that person make mistakes in the past and as a result, they don’t trust their advice. The problem with that is you should not be submitting to a person, but rather, the office that God has ordained you to submit to. At that point, you are submitting as unto the Lord, not to a person. You submit to your pastor, not “Joe Smith”. You submit to your husband, not the man you married in whom you see all his flaws. When you submit to the office that God ordained, it does not matter whether the frail human makes a mistake. God honors your submission, not the outcome of the submission. The reality, however, is that most of the time, the office we are commanded to submit to is placed there to watch for our souls. The times they make mistakes are the exception, not the rule, and we are better off for our submission. I would also argue that when you submit and the advice given is bad, God will still honor that and work everything out in the end.
Humility is the Key
When we maintain a humble attitude, Biblical submission is not a problem. It is when we get proud that issues creep in. It says that we need to be clothed with humility. Humility is a covering. It needs to be like a “frontlet” that covers the side of the eyes. You need blinders on to not see the authority’s human weakness, but say, I really need this help; I am getting help in what they are telling me; I need to obey for my own good. At that point, God can give you grace to submit. A wife can get in her head that she knows better how to fix a situation in the home and steps beyond what the husband has told her. That is pride. A church member thinks they know what they need to do in a critical decision and fails to check with their pastor. That is pride. In both cases, it ultimately leads to destruction, not of just the individual, but often families and whole churches. Humility and putting the focus on the Lord, and not man, is the key to Biblical submission.